Turn Off the TV — and Do Some Good!

Fall pop culture gives us new series, Oscar-worthy movies, big reads, and more. Show your appreciation by giving a little back to the community.

Labor Day has passed, marking the unofficial end of summer. While most people get the blues about the shorter days and longer work hours, I say good riddance. Not only was this summer mostly a washout, summer is brutally boring for popular culture. Once the early movie blockbusters are over, it’s nothing but bad reality shows out there.

I say, bring on fall! It’s much better for pop culture. TV networks debut their new series, movie studios start rolling out prestige movies, publishing houses switch from beach reads to the next Dan Brown, and the theaters nearby launch their cultural seasons. There’s so much to see, do, and write about (just take a look at our September issue’s Fall Weekends arts preview).

No doubt, you’re all going to be busy buying tickets, programming the DVR, and generally enjoying the fall weather. Before you completely stuff your calendar from now until Christmas, I urge you to set aside one day for public service: September 11.

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The nonprofit organization September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance (yes, it’s kind of a mouthful) has a goal for everyone to “perform at least one good deed” — any one you choose — on 9/11. They’ve been carrying on this mission since 2002, but this is the first year that September 11 is a federally observed National Day of Service and Remembrance.

So, what can you do?

You can volunteer your time. They make it easy by maintaining a database of projects in need of volunteers. You can look them up by location and interest here. (If you already have a project and you’re looking for volunteers, you can list it on the Web site, too.) I did some quick searching, and there are quite a lot of projects in our area, including cleaning up the parks in Rye, helping kids improve their reading and writing skills in Elmsford, organizing a book drive in Valhalla, and more. Of course, if none of the ones here appeal to you, you can always find your own projects with your preferred organizations.

You can donate $9.11. If you donate through the site, your money goes to September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you donated $9.11 to your favorite cause.

You can share your plans. Good deeds are contagious, right? Check the 9/11 Day of Service message board to find tales of people planning to build houses, serve food, and adopt grandparents. Once you have your plans set, keep the ball rolling by letting everyone know what you’re going to do. You deserve to brag a little. They also have little widgets so you can let the world know on Twitter and Facebook, too. We’d love to hear if you have any plans — especially if you volunteer at some great organization year-round. Let us know in the comments.

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If you take part now, you won’t feel so bad when you veg out in front of the TV watching a So You Think You Can Dance marathon in a few weeks.


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